Cycling in Amsterdam

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This week I had the opportunity to ride a bike in Amsterdam, and I took some photos. If, like me, you’ve never cycled in the Netherlands, it is quite an experience to ride with so many people in such a bicycle-friendly place. For more on how the bicycle came to be so central in the Netherlands see this Guardian article, ‘How Amsterdam became the bicycle capital of the world‘.

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An example of a cycle route, this one behind Central Station in Amsterdam. Most roads have some kind of bike lane, many entirely segregated like this one. The surfaces are smooth, and they are designed to give priority to bikes most of the time.

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The Cycling Cartoonist book is taking shape

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Friday was the final deadline day for submission of cartoons for The Cycling Cartoonist. I’m pleased to say that I’ve drawn 116 brand new cycling cartoons, which, added to 28 that I’d already done, means that there are 144 in total.

It’s taken 8 months and is by far the biggest such project I’ve attempted, so it is a huge relief to have got it done. There will of course be editing still to do, but the first and largest hurdle has been… hurdled. It is also the first project that I’ve undertaken entirely digitally, using [technical details] an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and the Procreate App. This new way of doing things isn’t perfect and has taken a lot of learning, but it wouldn’t have been possible to get this much work done in the time using my old ‘draw it on paper then scan’ methods.

Many thanks to everyone who has helped me with ideas and morale-boosting. This is a picture of me out on the bike, in the cold and rain, fixing a puncture with my friend Mark, while my other friend Sam is holding my bike and taking the picture. They had no idea how important such research in the lanes of rural Essex would be when it came to the cartoon-drawing a month or two later.

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Many thanks too to my publishers, Bloomsbury Sport, who’ve been brilliant, including when I needed just a little more drawing time.

Publication date for the book is 1 June, and the cover might look a bit like the image above.

The Cycling Cartoonist on the Bloomsbury UK website
The Cycling Cartoonist on Amazon UK

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The Elephant bike

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This is a cartoon I have done for the Elephant Bike. In summary: Elephant Bikes are old Post Office bikes that are done up and sold by a charity in a new guise. They are refurbished by young offenders, and each one bought pays for another bike to be shipped to Malawi. The cartoon hopefully explains all of this.

I have my own Elephant Bike (picture below, taken before I’d adjusted saddle to correct height…). I’ve only ridden it to do a few minor errands so far, but the plan is that it will be my supermarket shopping bike as the box at the front carries quite a decent load.

It must be said, these bikes are incredibly good value and I’d thoroughly recommend them. For only £250 (£280 with carrier + basket or box) you get a extremely sturdy low-maintenance (hub gears, drum brakes) bike refurbished to a high standard, and you’re supporting a great cause too. Buy one while you can.

You can find out more via the following links:

Elephant Bike website / Buy a bike
Elephant Bike on Facebook
Twitter – @ElephantBike

elephant-bike

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The Cycling Cartoonist: A book of cycling cartoons

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I’ve got some exciting news. I have been commissioned to draw a book of cycling cartoons. The provisional title is ‘The Cycling Cartoonist’. The book will be published in June 2017 by Bloomsbury, who publish a good number of cycling books (as well as Harry Potter).

So, I will be spending much of the next six months drawing the cartoons for the book. It is a slightly daunting prospect as I will need to produce a lot of new work, but I know I have plenty of good material lined up in notebooks and on the back of cycling cafe napkins, so I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it.

I have various minor cycling exploits planned in order to gather ideas, and there will hopefully be blog updates as I go. But I’m also hoping to talk to people who cycle to help me develop ideas for new cartoons. This could be you – if you live in London or Essex and meeting up is doable I’ll happily buy you a coffee or beer in return for your thoughts on cycling (let me know). But I’m sure there will be ways the online community can help as well – watch this space.

For followers of my church-themed work: Don’t worry, I’m still doing my weekly Church Times cartoon, adding new content to CartoonChurch.com, and in fact I have a pending announcement which might interest you (Cue intriguing chords, suspense, etc).

So anyway, I’d better pump up my tyres, get myself to the starting ramp, clip in, and get on with it. Updates will follow, and in the meantime you can see my existing cycling cartoons here: CyclingCartoons.com

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Evans cartoon mugs sighted in the wild

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This morning various photographs of my Evans Cycles cartoon mugs out in the wild (on desks and next to computers) have appeared, as people have been able to pick them up from the shops. This picture is courtesy of Giles Roadnight. You may possibly still be able to get one if you turn up at an Evans store in cycling gear – otherwise there is a chance if you post a photo on on their Facebook wall. Details here.

It has been fun seeing people’s pictures anyway. Though in searching for them I have found plenty of unrelated tweets. A favourite from this morning: ‘Evans you mug!’

I’m hoping this might kickstart the search for a regular home for my cycling cartoons – one can hope. That said any such endeavours will have to wait for several weeks owing to various activities. But in the longer term drawing cycling-themed cartoons is one of the things I would like to do.

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